What's next for the future: Virtual Reality and 360 Video
By David Phelan on 17th Feb, 2016
Technology was specifically created, it would seem, to answer the question, “What’s next?” and to bridge the gulf between what we take for granted today and what we yearn for tomorrow to bring. Virtual reality (or VR) is likely to go mainstream this year. So while the Holodeck of the Starship Enterprise remains impossible, the latest headsets are parsecs away from the heavy and awkward ones available five years ago.
The latest VR gadgets are versatile, lightweight and comfortable, and that’s not just in terms of how cosily they fit your head, though that’s important. Other improvements have seen disorientation issues diminish considerably, even with extended use. That’s crucial if you’re playing games, but VR has much more to offer, too.
Powered by phone
Samsung’s own Gear VR series is a lightweight helmet with touchpad, volume key etc. On its own it’s not much use, but drop a compatible smartphone like the Galaxy S6 edge in and the phone provides the screen and does the hard work. This is clever, and works because smartphones like these have exceptionally high-resolution displays, enough to provide rich, detailed images even when the screen is perched on the bridge of your nose.
The success of VR will depend on the content available for it. That’s mostly games just now but will include fitness exercise regimes, social networking applications and more. Imagine sitting in the best seat at the match, where you can turn and follow the player you like, where you’re not limited to the broadcaster’s perspective. Or follow a groundbreaking news company which makes you feel you’re on the sidelines in a war zone. It might not be pleasant, but it’ll give a unique perspective, for better or worse. Expect film studios to invest heavily in films you can watch on VR, too.
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